I was late for work. The day started at 8:30 usually. I didn’t get there until 9:00. I don’t know why I was late, but by the time I arrived, both planes had crashed.
I wasn’t going to what we called the “Western offices,” where I held all my meetings with parishioners. I was going to the church. It was a Tuesday, Bible study day. I hadn’t listened to the radio driving south on Vincennes from home to the church. Back then, listening for ten minutes was too much of a tease. You couldn’t hear full songs in ten minutes, much less any real reporting. I parked my car in the lot. I walked through the hallway and came by the first office. Candace was there. Grandma Jackie hadn’t yet arrived. The phone was already ringing.
Candace greeted me by asking if I had heard. I hadn’t so I asked, “Heard what?” As I answered her, she turned to the television. That large black box in the corner of the office. I didn’t understand the images at first. It came to me along with the voice of some reporter explaining the violence, the pain, the smoke, and the death.
When I heard about “nine eleven,” as it would be called, I was at church. I had just arrived to work, to hear about thousands of others who had done the same thing I had that morning. Some came to work early that morning in New York. They met their deaths. When I heard it put to me that way, it was true, I would remember where I was when I first heard about the tragedy.
If you’ll share, where were you when you heard?